Roland Rolson

Pedestal table top

This is part 2 of the build, making the leg is shown in this post. This part will show the process of making the capital plate, the top, 4 transition blocks and the final assembly.

For the capital plate I cut the timber to length, flattened it with my router flattening jig and then cut the rabbets on both ends using my table saw. For non-through cuts like rabbets it is OK to use the fence as a stop block.

Next I rip cut the parts to width and sanded them by hand. I cut the half-lap joints and glued everything together.

I scraped off any dried glue using a chisel, sanded the plate with my orbital sander and applied some home-made stain (steel wool and vinegar). The 1st picture shows the front part just after the dye was applied, the 2nd picture was taken about 2 hours later and it shows the back, but most importantly it shows the difference between untreated and treated wood.

To make the top I cut timber to size and then put a nice straight edges to the boards. I used my table saw because I don’t have a jointer. The glue-up was quick and easy.

And moving back to the capital; I drilled countersunk holes in it, drove screws into them and applied a couple of coats of varnish. While the varnish was drying, I worked on the table top.

I cut out the circle with my jigsaw, staying off the line a bit as the blade tends to bend sometimes. Next with my router flattening jig I flattened the top from both sides. That was followed by sanding with 40 grit discs.

After an hour or so it was completely flat and decently smooth. I fixed my belt sander to the bench and finished off the edges. First with coarse, then with fine sanding belts. Before putting away all these sanders I had to use my random orbital sander one more time, with fine and super-fine discs, to smooth out the front and the back.

I also added a little chamfer to the front and a bigger one to the back. To make the last step easier, which was applying the finish, I stuck a wooden block to the back using a double-sided tape. That allowed me to cover both sides with varnish in one go.

After a couple of coats, and a few days later I was able to buff the capital with a fine steel wool and wax. Next I fixed it to the leg using my impact driver, and I have to mention that there was no need to pre-drill any holes.

I attached some timber to my router edge guide using only a double-sided tape. I also used some support rail to help with levelling the router during the first cut.

To cut these blocks to size I used my circular saw jig. That was an easy task as I used a stop-block and all 4 pieces were the same. Once cut I filed the edges down with my mini files (flat and rounded) , just a little bit to prepare them for the next step, which was applying spray lacquer. It dried very quickly so it wasn’t a problem to have them finished within an hour.

I made a couple of mistakes at that stage. I attached the blocks to the leg with contact adhesive, because I didn’t want to use any other glue, or method, that would involve clamps. These joints were very weak because the leg was waxed. I also noticed that the blocks looked like cut skirting boards, they were simply too big. The only thing I liked about them was the colour they got after applying lacquer, a perfect match!

Luckily for me it was easy to take them off and trim down to the new size. I drilled 2 holes in each block, using 8 mm and 3 mm bits and that allowed me to hide the screws and make sockets for the plugs.

I cut out some oak plugs and fixed them firmly in place with hot glue.

Before applying spray lacquer I covered everything with masking tape. 2 quick coats were sprayed on, mainly to cover the plugs and darken their colour.

I was finally happy with the new look and the strength of the joints. I was getting there, slowly but surely. I lightly sanded the top and buffed it with wax and steel wool. I fixed braces to the top leaving a gap between them and the capital to allow any seasonal movements of wood.

This project was built with cheap material, that cracked and bowed in some places. It was a challenge and I learned a lot during this build, tried new tools, techniques, finishes, made a couple of mistakes, but I’m still very happy with the results!

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